Corporate Culture At Google.Com A Case Study

1393 words - 6 pages

"Culture, then, is what remains to bolster a company's identity as one organization. Without culture, a company lacks values, direction, and purpose." (What Holds the Modern Company Together? ; Rob Goffee & Gareth Jones; HBR nov-dec. 1996)What is corporate culture? In general, corporate culture defines the personality of an organization; it determines the way in which employees think, act, and feel. Corporate culture is a broad term used to define the unique personality or character of a particular company or organization, and includes such elements like general practises, such as symbols, stories, rituals and language; HRM practises like recruitment-, reward-, and appraisal systems; the structure of a firm, that is rules and procedures, job descriptions, technology and strategy.Corporate culture can be expressed in the company's mission statement and other communications, in the architectural style or interior décor of offices, by what people wear to work and how people address each other. One company that has adopted a very unique culture is Google.com.In 1998, two Stanford students abolished their postgraduate study plans and created Google.com, the now worldwide biggest search engine on the Internet. Larry Page and Sergey Brin opened their first office in a friend's garage together with three employees and until today their unconventional ideas and views have been identifying the firm's corporate culture. Looking at the culture of Google.com, it can be said that even though the company has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years to become the biggest search engine in the world, its culture has remained very informal and, in a way, creative.One glimpse at the photos on its Web page would be enough to prove this implication. There are employees playing hockey, table football and basketball together while others relax strumming some tunes on the piano in the lobby. At Google.com, the word laptop is apparently taken literally, as employees are sitting on beanbags with their laptops in their laps, working in what they call a "spacious, colourful, fun work environment" (http://www.google.com/jobs/reasons.html). There are no dress-codes and sometimes employees even bring their children to work. Thus, every aspect relating to Google's culture portends to an informal organisation with a flat hierarchy that counts on emergent procedures and an open and fast flow of information.S.Dawson illustrates corporate culture as a circle with shared values and believes building the centre from which different rays or levels emerge to form the whole picture. The first level is labelled general practices and includes rituals, stories, language and symbols. Google's general practises clearly show the fact that Google is an informal organisation with, what Handy calls a "task culture"; "an open network without a central point"( Analysing Organisations; S.Dawson). This can be seen very well in the office setups, equipped with high technology...

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